About the project

The Background of the project:

In 2020 CLEAN project in partnership with the Coffee Quality Institute, organised the first virtual “Taste of Laos” Coffee event which helped to raise the profile of specialty arabica and robusta coffees from Laos with international buyers. Due to the successful visibility raised then, in 2021 the first inaugural Lao Coffee Competition took place designed specifically to identify by scoring following SCA standards the best quality coffee from Laos.

This first event was also part of the USDA funded CLEAN Project and further supported by L ‘Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC). The event positioned Lao, through its participants to the competition to be recognised as “Specialty Grade”.

As a result, and with the aim of including more participants, the competition has been repeatead in 2022, with additional support from the Arise Plus Laos PDR project to facilitate sales transactions between the sellers of the top competition lots and international buyers using an online auction.

Three members of the Bolaven Farms coffee cooperative.
Photo: Phiengphaneth Chanthalansy/Winrock International.

Coffee is the main income for the villagers, and many of them invest their profits into children’s sanitary education and clean water projects in the Lao coffee-growing communities where they works.

This competition and auction is an opportunity to let prospective buyers to know, cup and score Laos’ unknown coffees. We seek to captivate specialty coffee buyers interested in sourcing single-origin beans, like to travel to the source to assess new coffees, experience the terroir, and get to know the producers.

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Arise Plus Lao Project Background

The ‘ASEAN Regional Integration Support – Lao PDR Trade Related Assistance’ project (ARISE Plus Lao PDR), funded by the European Union, seeks to contribute to improving the business environment in Lao PDR, with a focus on regional economic integration and increased trade and participation in global value chains for the wood processing and coffee sectors.

Within the scope of this project, the International Trade Centre (ITC) is supporting the Lao coffee sector to overcome its supply constraints and connect to international markets through development of Lao Coffee Sector Export Roadmap 2021-2025, coffee sector investment profile, support farmers and SMEs to meet requirements from the international specialty coffee markets by training Lao coffee operators on Specialty Coffee Association’s sensory and cupping skills, Green Coffee Foundation and trainings on organic coffee farms. In addition, ARISE Plus Lao PDR will continue providing supports to improve Lao national standards for coffee and creating opportunities for Lao coffee sector to connect with potential international buyers in EU and ASEAN region through supporting the participation in specialty coffee international exhibitions in EU in 2022 e.g. World of Coffee (WOC) either via physical presence or virtual platform; organising an auction platform for Lao coffee in conjunction with Lao national coffee completion event; and facilitate the targeted sampling of buyers in selected priority markets. On selected activities the project will cooperate with the Winrock CLEAN project to seek synergies on similar activities for a wider impact.

Winrock CLEAN Project Background

USDA funded project; the Creating Linkages for Expanded Agricultural Networks (CLEAN) implemented by Winrock International is working to improve the agriculture sector in Laos.

The project facilitates private investment in supply chain infrastructure to increase production, reduce post-harvest losses and improve quality compliance and certification systems, and develop linkages and increase demand for clean and safe horticulture in domestic, sub-regional and global markets. CLEAN works to support market-ready farmers, agro-enterprises, entrepreneurs, and traders in selected horticultural value chains (cabbages, cassava, coffee and sacha inchi) in two distinct regions: the Bolaven Plateau and the Vientiane Plain.